Big Bridge #10

Export: Writing the Midwest


Gerald Schwartz


Springfield, Ohio

I look into memory, yet those pigeons
glow into supernature in the park
that's emerald and iron as ever
emerald and iron.

A starling folds its teleological wings,
grips a tree gripped by ivy
like another Springfield.

Culture's another genetic game;
like scum on a pond--encoded
milfoil. Start or end? Perfectible art?

I go on; to the admonition of
Main Street, having run without
walking, conveyed. Yet legs
don't seem to need guidance from
me; just to keep going, Faith
(pace Faith) alone knows why.
But I construct myself
as I go; for the dry sense of

Someone says 'Springfield, Ohio',
(whatever that is)
becomes here again.



My people from Ashtabula--
the Mulcahys, the Schwartzs
tapped telegraph keys and sold
tobacco until my great-grandfather
that night in 1906--
drunk and hitching a ride home
on a side spur--
slipped between mail cars,
severing his left leg, breaking
his neck.

Three daughters and a renegade
son up in Ottawa
saw all they had sold.

We lose ourselves down
the years.

Under the earth in Ashtabula,
wood groans, crack of bones'
cocoon. Another name
smoothed away from the slant

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